Before you begin
Snapmark is a beta feature that is only available for some users right now. It enables precision alignment to help you quickly and easily mass-customize items. Think pet tags, puzzle pieces, aluminum business cards, tap handles, or pencils (as in the example below)!
The feature works by precisely aligning two different prints using Snapmark markers. In this tutorial, you’ll see how you can print a jig with Snapmark markers, add Snapmarks to a design, and use the software to automatically align your design to the objects in your jig.
Snapmark is a beta feature and is only enabled on some machines for testing. If Snapmark is enabled on your machine, you will find the Snapmark button on the toolbar of your workspace.
Download the template
Download this template file (right click on the link and click “Save link as” on Chrome or Firefox, or “Download linked file as” on Safari), make a copy, and open it in your design software. It has a copy of a pair of Snapmark markers in it, and is where you should start every Snapmark project.
Note that each Snapmark need to be at exactly W0.332" x H0.405" (W8.437 mm x H10.279 mm). If they appear to be a different size in your design software, you can manually change their width and height.
Customize some pencils
For your first Snapmark print, follow the tutorial below to customize a batch of pencils and see how the feature works!
Customize your Pencils with Artwork
The tutorial below will show how you can customize a batch of pencils using Snapmark.
Download the tutorial template
For this tutorial, download the pencil jig template file we’ve prepared.
Add custom artwork
Add artwork you want to engrave inside the cutouts. In our case, this means adding text into the rectangles that will hold the pencils.
Save as an SVG
Save the file as an SVG and upload it to the Glowforge app.
Print the jig
Create the jig you’ll use to hold your pencils in place.
Place jig material in the bed
Put your jig material in the bed. TIP: Choose material that’s a similar thickness to the items you’re customizing.
Print your jig
Before you hit print:
- Set the Snapmarks to “Score”
- Set the cutouts to “Cut”
- Set the artwork to “Ignore”
When it’s done printing, take the jig out of your Glowforge and remove any scrap.
Load the jig
Get your items ready to print.
Place items in the jig
Put the jig back in the center of the bed and place your items in the cutouts.
Customize your items
Time to personalize your pencils!
Hit the "Snapmark" button
Let your Glowforge search
Your Glowforge will start searching for Snapmarks on the bed. After a few minutes, you should see the artwork moved to match the previously scored Snapmark locations.
Don't move your artwork
Do not move the artwork or material after this step, even if the image doesn’t look right on your screen.
Prepare for printing
Before you hit print:
- Set your artwork to “Engrave”
- Set the Snapmarks to “Ignore”
- Set the jig cutouts to “Ignore”
Make a custom jig design file
Follow these steps to create your own custom jig to hold objects in place when you engrave.
Open the Snapmark template
Download this Snapmark template and open it in your design software. Lock the Snapmarks in their own layer and make a new layer for the jig design. You can move them around later.
Measure your items
Measure the items you’ll be customizing. (In our case, a set of pencils.)
Create a cutout
On a new layer, add in cutouts that will hold each item you plan to engrave, making sure the sizing is right so the item fits snugly.
Snapmarks should be parallel to each other and no more than 16” apart (at least 2” inside the perimeter of the printable area). You can move the pair of Snapmark markers closer or further apart, and up or down, so they fit around your artwork.
Place and lock your Snapmarks
Make sure not to rotate or resize the Snapmarks when you place them. Then, lock the Snapmark layer again.
Save the file
- It’s important that the Snapmarks are kept at the exact height, width and stroke thickness as in the template. If you’re unsure, re-download the template here.
- If you included multiple pairs of Snapmark markers in your design, Glowforge will look for the pair closest to the top when searching for a match.
- There always needs to be at least two Snapmarks in the file that you upload and the final artwork you intend to engrave. It is important that you don’t change this file between uploading it and running Snapmark.
- We recommend keeping the Snapmark markers locked in a separate layer to prevent accidental edits.
- If you’d like to change the artwork but not the items you’re engraving, just edit the artwork layer of your file and re-upload the whole thing. As long as you don’t modify the jig design in any way, the file will continue to work with the jig you already printed.
- In order for your Glowforge to recognize them, your Snapmarks must be crisp and high contrast. If you’re printing them on a dark material, consider putting down a piece of light masking tape first. Check to make sure no shadows are obscuring the Snapmarks.